The new Alienware x14 is almost too thin for a Gaming Laptop
Alienware's introduction of the two new models x15 and x17 last year shows where the journey is heading: High-end gaming laptops with thin designs. The new Alienware x14 follows this principle as well, and it is the world's thinnest 14-inch gaming notebook according to the manufacturer. We had the chance to take a close look at the new 14-inch system in its high-end configuration with the new Intel Core i7-12700H (Alder Lake) as well as Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 and the slim system definitely requires some compromises.
The quality of the chassis leaves a very good impression and it is really very slim, but the design with the shifted display hinge results in a very deep chassis, so the Alienware x14 has a much larger footprint than rivals like the Razer Blade 14. The position of the hinge also means that the keyboard is located closer to the front edge. This is not a big issue on the larger x15, but on the x14, there is not much room left for the palm rests and the touchpad. Your palms will quickly rest on the front edge of the base unit, especially if you have larger hands. The keyboard itself is affected by the chassis height as well, because the key travel is reduced from 1.5 mm on the x15 to just 1.2 mm. The keyboard is still very precise, but you will notice the difference and the typing experience is just not as comfortable as on the x15. All the ports of the x14 are also located on the back, including the power adapter and the stereo jack (which are on the sides of the x15), which is just very impractical.
The cooling performance is compromised as well. Dell uses modern technologies (like vapor chamber), but our tests show that the device can handle 90-95W for longer periods. This means you "only" get the GeForce RTX 3060 with a TGP of 60W (up to 75W with dynamic boost), which is sufficient for gaming in the native 1080p resolution, but the Rival from Razer is available with the faster RTX 3070 (100W TGP) for the same money. The x14 is also very noisy while gaming, so a good headset is pretty much a must-have.
The Full-HD panel (16:9) with fast response times and 144 Hz refresh rate also leaves a very good impression, but we are pretty sure a 16:10 panel would have fitted as well. The display is not only good for gaming though, because the color accuracy is excellent after our calibration. Combined with the full DCI-P3 coverage and the fast card reader, the Alienware x14 is also an interesting option for photographers or drone pilots who like to edit pictures/videos on the go.
All in all, the Alienware x14 is a good, but also expensive gaming notebook. We do believe, however, that the laptop could have been much better with some adjustments and a slightly thicker chassis. The slim chassis is obviously great for the marketing department, but we do not think any user would mind a chassis that is 2-3 millimeters thicker. All the other information about the laptop (including gaming benchmarks) is available in our comprehensive review: